For nearly a century, sociologists termed Chicago's famed Maxwell Street "The Ellis Island of the Midwest," given its heterogeneous blend of races, religions, and social types running the gamut from businessmen to hustlers. The locale, of course, is perhaps best known for its rollicking blues and stirring gospel music. The 1964 documentary And This is Free travels to the Maxwell Street of the early '60s for a direct cinema plunge into the fray of on-street activity, with a particularly strong emphasis on the musical element.
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